A copy of the Town and Country Patriotic Women Workers Cookery Book, published in Palmerston North in 1917, was found in our very own City Archive. This extremely fragile volume is slowly being digitised by our team, but in the meantime we will be posting a new weekly column entitled, "Recipe of the Week". This volume runs to to over 160 pages, although our volume is missing both the front and back covers and 1 and a 1/2 pages from the back section. The recipes from this book were contributed to the Patriotic Society from around the region and the author's name will be included with each entry. Chapters include food items like biscuits, soups, "made up dishes" and egg dishes, but there are also chapters about beverages, sauces and "miscellaneous" - with entries like homemade floor polish, soap, waterproof dressing and cough mixture. Alongside these recipes, there are many interesting advertisements from the local businesses of Palmerston North. 

The editor's note says this about the book, "Our aim was to try and give simple, everyday dishes suitable for economical times and as the whole of the profits from the sale of this little book are for Patriotic Funds, we trust the public will be lenient and overlook all deficiencies and help to swell the funds by not only buying a copy, but recommending it to their friends." 


Muffins are baked on an iron plate and not in the oven. To a quarter of a peck of flour, add 3/4 pint of yeast, 4oz of salt and as much water of milk (slightly warmed) as is sufficient to form a dough of rather soft consistence. Small portions of the dough are then put into holes previously made in a layer of flour about two inches thick , placed on a board and the whole is covered and suffered to stand near the fire to rise. When this is effected they each will exhibit a semi-globula shape. They are then carefully placed on a heated iron plate and baked. (14lbs of flour is a peck) 

(Editor's note: Unless going to complete authenticity, using a muffin tin may be preferable to shaping the muffins in holes made in flour.)

Contact Research and Archives, 2nd Floor of the Central Library or leave a comment below if you attempt to recreate these culinary masterpieces!